By Marcus R. Motta:
Saturday, September 19, was the second day of in person early voting at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax. At approximately 11:30 a.m., voters waiting in line outside the building were confronted by a large number of Trump supporters arriving in cars and honking their horns.
Part of the group parked their vehicles and re-appeared on foot in front of the building. They numbered approximately 50 to 75 with half not wearing masks and others not wearing the masks they had brought. They were bearing flags and other Trump gear.
About a quarter of the group appeared to realize that we are in the middle of a pandemic and that science is real since they were actually wearing masks. Apparently, not all of them have bought into the idea of Trump’s expertise on all topics.
The Trumpers blocked the entrance at first and then settled for violating social distancing rules and mingling among voters. They shouted that they had a 1st Amendment right to be there.
Jack Kiraly, Executive Director of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC), was a poll watcher during the incident. He said they were “yelling and shouting at voters” and “voters were visibly startled and some started to leave.” The voters were then escorted into the building.
Kiraly said the Trumpers quickly turned abrasive and borderline violent. There were no visible weapons. All voters were moved into the safety of the building by the office of elections.
The Fairfax County Police were called, one officer arrived 45 minutes later, observed the scene and departed after ten minutes. No action was taken against the protestors. The Fairfax County Police Public Affairs Bureau could not be reached for comment.
The protestors completely departed the area by 1:30 p.m. Voter suppression and voter intimidation should not be encouraged. If you see anything that looks suspicious at any polling station, please call FCDC’s voter protection hotline which is 1-844-482-8683.
Marcus R. Motta is a retired federal law enforcement officer with 32 years of service. He is a member of the Springfield District Democratic Committee
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